The Economic Outlook for America
By Paul A. Cleveland
As Moses was completing the Lord’s instructions to the Israelites as they were about to enter the promised land, he outlined a series of blessings that would be theirs if they obeyed God and curses that would befall them is they disobeyed. In Deuteronomy 28 we read about these blessings and curses. Obedience would result in a general national prosperity and the accumulation of wealth such that the nation would lend money to many nations but would borrow from none. That is not to say that every last man, woman, and child among the people would prosper, but that there would be general prosperity in the community. Alternatively, failure to heed God’s commands would bring about economic hardship and destruction exemplified by a nation that would borrow from other nations and lend to none. Once again, that is not to say that every last man, woman, and child would suffer the same, but that there would be a generalized economic deprivation. Does this have anything to do with America today?
I would say yes it does. For well over a hundred years the United States of America has been steadily turning away from its foundational moorings that were originally rooted in Christian morality. More and more our government has steered away from performing its proper task of impartially securing every man’s life, liberty, and property in order to engage in an ever increasing game of robbing Peter to pay Paul. More and more it has seduced the people of the nation to believe that it can provide the citizenry with such things as retirement income, education, health care, energy, food, and housing. As a result, the government has increasingly meddled in the private affairs of the people to such an extent that the political landscape is nothing but a constant barrage of attacks by one political group against another as everyone seeks to achieve his private ends by political means. The result is that government has grown to astronomical proportions and has become the biggest borrower known to human history. This cannot continue because it makes no economic sense whatsoever. After all, as an institution government is dependent. Its very existence is rooted in its ability to secure the resources on which it operates from the citizenry. Therefore, it simply is not possible for it to become the provider of anything. Not only that, but it sets itself up as a provider by taker from one person for the benefit of another it is grossly immoral and represents nothing short of a rejection of God’s counsel. In particular, it is a rejection of God’s prohibition on theft.
Consider for a moment the dirty details of our current situation. The nation is over $16 trillion dollars in debt and is scheduled to go further into debt at a rate of about an additional trillion dollars a year for the foreseeable future. It will spend somewhere between $3.5 to $4 trillion dollars this year on its massive spending programs. Despite this, the current administration continues to claim that we do not have a spending problem and even has the audacity to call for ever more government action. To attempt to bring some sense of understanding to these numbers consider the following illustration. Suppose John the Baptist had decided against being God’s prophet in order to live the lifestyle of the rich and famous by consuming $1,000,000 worth of resources every day. Do you know that he would still be spending money today and would not yet have gone through $1 trillion dollars? In fact, it would take nearly 2,740 years to spend one trillion dollars at that rate. You get the picture. We have been utterly foolish in what we have expected government to do.
To add to the spending problem, our government, with the help of the Federal Reserve, has been financing this debt, especially in the last few years, by rapidly printing money thus debasing the U.S. dollar. The value of the dollar will be eroded away as the hard realities of the current economic folly are finally felt. I would think that it is a good time for Christians to take a stand for the truth. For far too long we have simply gone along with the expansion of government spending as if there were some sense of Christian charity involved in the redistribution. We can hardly afford such thinking any more. It is time to point out the obvious and to return to the sound instruction of our Lord.